Celebrating of Black History Month

By: Cheryl Lu, Social Media Coordinator

On Feb. 18, MCIS was honoured to have Stachen Frederick as a guest speaker at one of our Lunch and Learn sessions as a part of our Black History Month celebration. Other celebration activities included launching a story sharing campaign both internally and externally by sharing articles from the Black community in North America, through staff emails and on our social media channels.

As an award-winning community developer and a successful social entrepreneur, Stachen is known for her role in the raising of awareness of HIV/AIDS and making resources accessible in the African, Caribbean and Black Communities both in Canada and internationally, through a culturally relevant practice of hair braiding. In her inspirational and informative speech, Stachen shared her story and work with the charity: BrAids for AIDS.

She started the work in BrAids for AIDS 11 years ago, in hope of finding a solution to reach and unite Black communities in an effective and culturally appropriate manner. She acknowledges that HIV/AIDS is an issue that’s often intertwined with racism, sexism and ageism, and therefore finding the right approach is just as important as finding the solution in clearing out the stigma and discrimination that’s often associated with the subject.

Over a desk full of pizza, Stachen shared with MCIS her thoughts and understanding about Black history celebration in Canada. Instead of having people from the Black community lobby and preach to others the stories they’ve heard growing up, she said, Black History Month celebration should become a joint effort of people from all backgrounds, and should come from the top of the social hierarchies and descend to reach people. In a word, the celebration should take a ‘systematic’ approach. Those who are at the top of each food chain should set examples by proactively self-educating. She also believes that the Black history should not be separated from “the history” and the two aspects of human history should be integrated into one, because Black community, from the beginning, has been an inseparable part of North America. She expects this to be a difficult process. “[The privileged] have to give up some power,” she said. “And that is hard for some people.”

Click the following links to see the articles that we shared during the month!

  1. Meet Black Woman Who Invented The GPS (Global Positioning System) – Dr. Gladys West
  2. The Secret History of the Underground Railroad
  3. In conversation with Stachen Naomi Frederick, Founder, BrAIDS for AIDS
  4. Nova Scotia Noir: Exploring Black History in Canada
  5. Dr. Jane C. Wright and the Making of Modern Oncology